Click here for Part 1, Part 2 Part 3 Delivering an award-winning blend of strategy, experience, and technology Michelle Pujadas is the founder and co-CEO of Zer0 to 5ive, a marketing and communications firm based in Philadelphia, with offices in New York and Pittsburgh. Since 1999, Zer0 to 5ive has helped clients in industries like education, financial services, healthcare, and consumer products build their brands, learn new technologies, and stand out in the marketplace. Thanks to its innovative campaign strategies and experienced team, the company has won scores of creative services awards, such as a silver 2014 Davey Award and multiple Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Awards of Excellence and Big Apple awards. Additionally, Michelle Pujadas was named as one of Philadelphia SmartCEO’s 25 Powerhouse Women Leaders in 2013. Prior to starting Zer0 to 5ive, Michelle was a Senior Vice President at Ketchum, where she won the company its first Silver Anvil for its Technology Practice. What do you attribute to your continual growth? MICHELLE PUJADAS: We’ve landed some West Coast clients because our reputation is getting out there. We’ve always considered ourselves a national firm, even though we’re based in Philadelphia, and what happens is you start working with a core group of entrepreneurs who go on to do bigger and better things themselves, and they have such a great experience with you and you help them so much along the way that they want to continue bringing you back in. That’s the case with Mashery and Rocket Fuel. Mashery came in through a co-worker—he had worked with the entrepreneur before and re-engaged. And Rocket Fuel—the interim CEO of Rocket Fuel is someone I knew back at college, at Carnegie Mellon. Years later, we reengaged on some other tech clients and he’s actually a client of mine at Spice Machine, as well as Rocket Fuel, so it’s connections. And then, just having a great reputation and doing great work that people remember. How did your experience at Ketchum influence where you are today? Ketchum is an amazing firm. I had the privilege of working with really big clients and great clients, and that set across some really good best practices that I took into Zer0 to 5ive. I worked with Harris Semiconductor, and then worked with the spinoff of Harris called AuthenTec. AuthenTec’s biometrics are now what’s in the Apple iPhone. So that’s exciting: when you get to work with those sorts of things, but I feel that one of the advantage of a big agency is that you have lots of people and they’re great for large firms, and especially global firms, and that became Ketchum’s focus when I was there. What I really loved was working with the local entrepreneur who had a great idea, a ton of passion, and just needed a guideline on the marketing and public relations front. One thing that I do use and keep an eye on is Twitter. Most of our clients are using Twitter, and I don’t tweet that often but I love reading through and scrolling through what’s going on because I follow people that I think are really interesting. I follow our clients, I follow influencers, I follow media people, and for me it’s instant information. You can tell immediately what’s going on in the world and we use it quite a bit for our clients. One of our tactics is what we call “rapid response” and so we monitor the trends and what the media is writing about, and when our clients and those trends match, we immediately reach out. It’s proven to be an extremely effective tool for putting our clients in conversations that they might not otherwise be involved in. Can you tell us about some exciting clients or projects you’re working with? Is there anything you’d like to promote? Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science is one of our newest clients and we are so thrilled to be working with them. Their Dean is Andrew Moore. He was Carnegie Mellon faculty, then he went and worked for Google, and started Google’s Pittsburgh office, and then came back as Dean. What I love about working with Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science is that they see the future. They see the future 10 to 15 years before we do, and that’s really fun to know about and talk to the media about. So we just started working with them, and he’s had some great interviews with top-tier publications already and our whole goal is to position Carnegie Mellon. You know, Carnegie Mellon struggles at some level with the fact that they’re in Pittsburgh versus New York or Boston or San Francisco, but what people don’t realize is Pittsburgh, like Philadelphia, is a thriving innovative city: there’s a lot of great stuff going on, and so not only do we want to talk about Carnegie Mellon and all the great faculty, but how things are thriving in Pittsburgh.
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